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Agenda item

Regional Adoption Agency

Report of the Executive Director, People

Decision:

15.1

The Executive Director, People Services submitted a report setting out the proposals for Sheffield City Council’s Adoption Service to form a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) with three other local authority adoption services, those of Barnsley MBC and Rotherham MBC, Doncaster Council together with Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, and seeking approval to proceed.

 

 

15.2

RESOLVED: That Cabinet:-

 

 

(a) approves the proposal for Sheffield City Council’s Adoption Service to form and be part of the South Yorkshire Regional Adoption Agency (SYRAA) as set out in the report; and

 

(b) delegates authority to the Executive Director of People Services, in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance to enter into a formal Agreement with participating bodies to effect the SYRAA; and thereafter to take such steps, where no authority exists under the Leaders Scheme of Delegation to achieve the aims and objectives as set out in the report.

 

 

15.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

15.3.1

Being part of a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) will improve our ability to place Sheffield’s children in adoptive families and to do so in a timely manner. This will be good for children and will result in costs efficiencies for the Council.

 

It will cost us no more financially to be part of a RAA and over time will increasingly lead to cost efficiencies. In particular, improved recruitment of adopters will reduce the need to spend money purchasing inter-agency placements.

 

Joining a RAA in the model proposed is in line with staff preferences not to be transferred out of their Council employment and as such promotes staff retention and continuity.

 

Joining a RAA is consistent with the Government’s drive for all adoption services to regionalise.

 

 

15.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

15.4.1

In consideration of the ‘do nothing’ and remain as we are option, we have to account for the Government legislation that requires all adoption services nationally to regionalise. As such, it is not a choice whether we become part of a regional adoption agency in some way or other. A failure to act could result in the Secretary of State designating which RAA the Sheffield adoptive function should be provided by, either by allocating another local authority and/or an adoption agency to provide the adoptive service. By being proactive Sheffield can be involved in the formation of the South Yorkshire RAA, being instrumental in its formation. Aside from it being a requirement, we do believe that regionalising provides an excellent opportunity to pool resources and expertise across the region to deliver improved services and outcomes for the region’s children and importantly for Sheffield’s children.

 

There was an option to develop a more fully integrated and separate service inclusive of transferring staff under TUPE regulations. This is not a preferred option as we wish to continue employing our existing staff. This model was objected to by staff and trades unions and it presents a risk to staff retention and continuity that would have a negative impact for children and adopters.

 

Our preferred and recommended model is that set out above.

 

 

15.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

15.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

15.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

John Macilwraith, Executive Director, People Services

 

 

15.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Children, Young People and Family Support Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee

 

Minutes:

15.1

The Executive Director, People Services submitted a report setting out the proposals for Sheffield City Council’s Adoption Service to form a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) with three other local authority adoption services, those of Barnsley MBC and Rotherham MBC, Doncaster Council together with Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, and seeking approval to proceed.

 

 

15.2

RESOLVED: That Cabinet:-

 

 

(a) approves the proposal for Sheffield City Council’s Adoption Service to form and be part of the South Yorkshire Regional Adoption Agency (SYRAA) as set out in the report; and

 

(b) delegates authority to the Executive Director of People Services, in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance to enter into a formal Agreement with participating bodies to effect the SYRAA; and thereafter to take such steps, where no authority exists under the Leaders Scheme of Delegation to achieve the aims and objectives as set out in the report.

 

 

15.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

15.3.1

Being part of a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) will improve our ability to place Sheffield’s children in adoptive families and to do so in a timely manner. This will be good for children and will result in costs efficiencies for the Council.

 

It will cost us no more financially to be part of a RAA and over time will increasingly lead to cost efficiencies. In particular, improved recruitment of adopters will reduce the need to spend money purchasing inter-agency placements.

 

Joining a RAA in the model proposed is in line with staff preferences not to be transferred out of their Council employment and as such promotes staff retention and continuity.

 

Joining a RAA is consistent with the Government’s drive for all adoption services to regionalise.

 

 

15.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

15.4.1

In consideration of the ‘do nothing’ and remain as we are option, we have to account for the Government legislation that requires all adoption services nationally to regionalise. As such, it is not a choice whether we become part of a regional adoption agency in some way or other. A failure to act could result in the Secretary of State designating which RAA the Sheffield adoptive function should be provided by, either by allocating another local authority and/or an adoption agency to provide the adoptive service. By being proactive Sheffield can be involved in the formation of the South Yorkshire RAA, being instrumental in its formation. Aside from it being a requirement, we do believe that regionalising provides an excellent opportunity to pool resources and expertise across the region to deliver improved services and outcomes for the region’s children and importantly for Sheffield’s children.

 

There was an option to develop a more fully integrated and separate service inclusive of transferring staff under TUPE regulations. This is not a preferred option as we wish to continue employing our existing staff. This model was objected to by staff and trades unions and it presents a risk to staff retention and continuity that would have a negative impact for children and adopters.

 

Our preferred and recommended model is that set out above.

 

 

15.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

15.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

15.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

John Macilwraith, Executive Director, People Services

 

 

15.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Children, Young People and Family Support Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee

 

 

Supporting documents: